1985: four poets tour the USA

John Tranter  — Senior Fellowship,
1985
Lyn Tranter:
Four Poets Tour
the USA

Items in [square brackets] are
later interpolations, from 2017. J.T.

‘Australian history is almost always picturesque; indeed, it is so curious and strange, that it is itself the chiefest novelty the country has to offer… It does not read like history, but like the most beautiful lies.’

 — Mark Twain

Paragraph 1 follows:

In 1985, Lyn Tranter — who had been involved with writing in Australia for twenty years — took four writers on a tour of the United States of America. The tour had the support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Literature Board of the Australia Council, then fifteen years old. The poets were Geoff Page, joanne burns (standing in for Dorothy Hewett, who had planned to go but who couldn’t make it), John A. Scott and Pi O [pen name of Peter Ousabasides, a Greek performance poet from Melbourne].

2:

In 1987 Lyn repeated the tour, this time with two writers and one editor: fiction writer Helen Garner, poet Laurie Duggan and editor Michael Heyward from Scripsi magazine. You can read the pamphlet that accompanied that tour, with photos, biographies, stories, articles and ads[, in the Journal of Poetics Research,] here.


 
1985 US tour: Happier Times: poet Pi O and organiser Lyn Tranter, wearing the ‘Midnite at the Oasis’ pullover she knitted herself
1985 US tour: Happier Times: poet Pi O and organiser Lyn Tranter, wearing the ‘Midnite at the Oasis’ pullover she knitted herself.

 
Front cover art by Toni Hope-Caten
Front cover art by Toni Hope-Caten
 

3:

Geoff Page had gained a strong reputation for his ability to evoke the rural scenes where he grew up, as well as a complex sense of history where he deals with Australia’s difficult part in the First World War as a former colony of the British Imperial power; he was also a deft chronicler of suburbia. Dorothy’s romantic lyricism combined with a hard-headed understanding of what it means to be a woman, to give a new and personal importance to the issues of women’s writing. joanne burns had a clear eye and a cool and sarcastic voice, and her portraits of contemporary rituals are arresting. Pi O’s youthful and energetic feeling for performance brings his poems off the page and vividly alive. John Scott’s carefully-crafted modern lyrics reveal traces of contemporary Europe and America; issues that all Australian writing has learnt to come to terms with.

 
Back cover
Back cover
 

4:

If the audience’s interest in Australian writing was stirred by their contact with it here, this booklet, supplied at every one of the dozens of North American venues where the poets read, helped the audience to follow through — the bookshops, publishers and other addresses at the back of this booklet were there to be used.

 
1985 US tour: ready to board: l to r: John A. Scott, unknown, Geoff Page, joanne burns.
1985 US tour: ready to board: l to r: John A. Scott, unknown, Geoff Page, joanne burns.
 

5:

Featured here are all the pages of the booklet which we have the authors’ permission to reproduce, reproduced as JPG illustrations. Most computer browsers will allow you to click on the page, once or twice, to enlarge the type. Read, learn, enjoy.

L to R: Pi Oh, John A. Scott, Lyn Tranter, joanne burns, Geoff Page, in America!
L to R: Pi Oh, John A. Scott, Lyn Tranter, joanne burns, Geoff Page, in America!
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p i.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, pi.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p ii.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, pii.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p01.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p01.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p02.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p02.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p03.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p03.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p04.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p04.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p05.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p05.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p06.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p06.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p07.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p07.


Dorothy Hewett’s poems on pages 8 to 13 will be published in due course.


Sadly, page 14 to 19 contained poems by the now-retired Peter Oustabasides, who prefers to be addressed by the Greek letter “pi” and the English letter “o”. I asked him for his permission to reprint the poems, but received this message in reply:

No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING YOOZ ARE INVOLVED IN
TT.O.


 
1985, US tour: l to r: Lyn Tranter, Geoff Page, Pi O. Ten-year-old Leon Tranter can be seen in the background.
1985, US tour: l to r: Lyn Tranter, Geoff Page, Pi O. Ten-year-old Leon Tranter can be seen in the background.
 
Preparing to leave on the US tour in 1985: Lyn Tranter, Geoff Page, Pi O.
Preparing to leave on the US tour in 1985: Lyn Tranter, Geoff Page, Pi O.
 
Preparing to leave on the 1985 US tour: Geoff Page, Pi O, John A.Scott.
Preparing to leave on the 1985 US tour: Geoff Page, Pi O, John A.Scott.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p20.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p20.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p21.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p21.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p22.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p22.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p23.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p23.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p24.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p24.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p25.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p25.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p 26.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p 26.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p 27.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p 27.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p28.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, p28.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, pxxix.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, pxxix.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, pxxx.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, pxxx.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, jbp01. Joanne Burns replaced Dorothy Hewett at short notice, and her four pages were added as an extra blue-tinted pamphlet. Photo of joanne burns by Micky Allan.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, jbp01. Joanne Burns replaced Dorothy Hewett at short notice, and her four pages were added as an extra blue-tinted pamphlet. Photo of joanne burns by Micky Allan.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, jbp02. Joanne Burns replaced Dorothy Hewett at short notice, and her four pages were added as an extra blue-tinted pamphlet. Photo of joanne burns by Micky Allan.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, jbp02. Joanne Burns replaced Dorothy Hewett at short notice, and her four pages were added as an extra blue-tinted pamphlet. Photo of joanne burns by Micky Allan.
 
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, jbp03. Joanne Burns replaced Dorothy Hewett at short notice, and her four pages were added as an extra blue-tinted pamphlet. Photo of joanne burns by Micky Allan.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, jbp03. Joanne Burns replaced Dorothy Hewett at short notice, and her four pages were added as an extra blue-tinted pamphlet. Photo of joanne burns by Micky Allan.
 

1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, jbp04. Joanne Burns replaced Dorothy Hewett at short notice, and her four pages were added as an extra blue-tinted pamphlet. Photo of joanne burns by Micky Allan.
1985 Booklet to accompany the visit of four Australian writers to the USA, organised by Lyn Tranter, jbp04. Joanne Burns replaced Dorothy Hewett at short notice, and her four pages were added as an extra blue-tinted pamphlet. Photo of joanne burns by Micky Allan.